After C.C. Sabathia’s rocky start on Tuesday night, the Yankees were looking for Phil Hughes to come in and shut down the pesky A’s. Hughes was unable to do so, throwing almost 100 pitches through 4.1 innings before manager Joe Girardi decided to pull the plug.
The problem for Hughes was the same. He was getting 0-2 counts with apparent ease, but seemed unable to retire hitters with two strikes, allowing five walks (as well as a home run, which has become standard for him) and running up his pitch count early.
Hughes was coming off a great start in Seattle, but he has been inconsistent all season, and this was just another performance that wasn’t good enough to secure a win, especially with Straily locating his pitches and retiring the Yankees with ease. The bullpen was effective in relief, giving the Yanks a chance to take back the game that was still close, but when struggling Joba Chamberlain lost control in the eighth, it was all over.
The Yankee pitching staff, up until tonight, had the least amount of walks allowed in the majors. They still do, even if they combined to walk nine batters, a season-high for one game.
Though the pitching lacked precision, it was the Yankees offense that was not able to pick up the slack in the loss. They got a mere four hits on the night, getting just two runners into scoring position, swinging early and making Straily’s job look easy as he took a miniscule pitch count into the seventh before being replaced. Vernon Wells and Robinson Cano continued their slump, and Brett Gardner snapped his eight-game hitting streak.
The Yankees will attempt to prevent the sweep Thursday afternoon, sending out Hiroki Kuroda to face Jarrod Parker. Kuroda has been the Yanks’ ace this season, but his two recent starts have not been as impressive.
New York will have to hope he comes out in top form, because the offense has not looked confident against the Oakland pitching thus far, and the Yanks don’t want to get swept going into the weekend’s series.